The education industry saw so many notable, significant changes this past year–from an increased focus on augmented reality and other visual technologies to make learning come alive, to the “Googlification” of the classroom with Chromebooks and Google education apps becoming staples–we’ve reached the point where education technology is now the norm, not a luxury.
This makes looking ahead at 2018 exciting because there is so much opportunity for districts and educators to elevate their curriculum with innovation right at their fingertips. On top of that, there is promise for continued education outside of the classroom; just look at Google’s recent $1B pledge over the next five years to help train Americans for jobs in technology. Called Grow with Google, the program targets not only teachers and students, but also local business, job seekers, developers and startups to provide online training initiatives and programs to prepare for tech-focused careers.
The most hopeful potential impact of 2018’s edtech landscape is the opportunity for nurturing skills that will help students succeed in the future of work. Considering how robots could replace 38 percent of jobs in the U.S. over the next 15 years, it’s absolutely vital that we’re arming today’s students, from as early as kindergarten-age, with the ability to succeed once they enter the workforce.
Let’s examine four key trends that are expected to shape the education industry this coming year:
1. Maker spaces will gain popularity in K-12 schools in the U.S.
President Trump’s initiative allotting $2 million per year to make coding a priority in U.S. schools will give way to an increased focus on STEM and coding in schools, reinvigorating the “maker movement.” As the maker movement continues to make its way into the mainstream, a growing number of K-12 schools in the U.S. will build dedicated maker spaces in their districts–helping more students than ever to obtain hands-on experience in STEM, tinkering and technology.
This trend is already being experienced globally. In China, for example, the government is committed to building new maker spaces in schools–to the tune of more than 5,000 new maker spaces opening in schools in 2017, alone.
2. The edtech industry will move from selling physical products to selling services.
While teachers already understand the importance of branching out from the traditional textbook, regulatory roadblocks make it difficult to get approval from administrators to purchase physical edtech products to incorporate into lesson plans. Considering this, edtech companies will likely move away from developing physical products, towards selling services (think: content, curriculum ideas) that can make even the driest subjects fun and interesting.